Saturday, August 30, 2008


Every once in a while I have some day in San Diego where I truly can't believe God lets me live here. It is really beautiful. This morning was one of those times. We went to La Jolla shores for breakfast on this walk along the coast we like to do. You know I brought my camera!!!!

The tide was in so Shannon snapped this pic of me and the boys. Who needs a professional photographer when you live in San Diego? Look at this pic! (as always, click it and it will go full size for you.)

I also ran across a blog the other day where the guy had embedded a slideshow of pics from his google picasso web album account. I did a little research and found out that I could download this nifty add on to iphoto for free that lets me publish directly from iphoto to google and then instantly create a slideshow that is live on my blog. If you have a mac, you can find that doodad and lots of others right here on the web.

But anyway, here's my first one. Let me know if you like it! Be sure to watch it through the part where I'm taking my boys pics in front of the water splash and note how Jake is sitting proud and ready to get wet while my other two are so showing their girl side. So funny. It's like 43 pics total. Hope you enjoy it.


Thursday, August 28, 2008


Last night we had our small group leader training. This time we combined the leadership of high school and middle school small groups. We put together a small packet of things we thought would be helpful and gave everyone a stack of postcards with several copies of 3 they could use for their small group: A happy birthday one, a "you rock" one, and we missed you one.

We ate dinner and had about 35 adults for our training. It was good and helpful and I heard encouraging things from those there. I posted two of the documents we used for our training on another blog I sometimes contribute to: PDYM community.

You can find our small group leader expectations here.

And a few thoughts for those who write their own small group material here.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


While celebrating my 14 year anniversary with Shannon, I decided to do 2 things this school year.

#1. Walk by boys to school all year on Mondays. (maybe even rain or shine- we'll see)
#2. Have breakfast with TJ on Wednesdays.

Since TJ starts middle school an hour after his brothers, I decided to use it for breakfast with TJ. He loves to read, so Monday we picked up some books at the YS office by Mark Oestreicher and Kurt Johnston written directly for middle school kids. We decided to start with one called, "My School". We are also reading the one minute Bible for students together.

It was good food, good times, and good conversation. I had the breakfast bagel on wheat with provolone. He had the breakfast bagel on plain with cheddar. We'll see if that becomes our "regular". We're going to go to the same place all year- maybe in a few months we'll just be able to walk up and say, "the usual please." How cool would that be?!

Here's a pic of what I hope to be a middle school tradition for all my boys.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I've had to come to some tough realizations this last 4 months or so about friends and this post is more vulnerable than feels safe to me... but here goes:

1. Ministry feels lonelier than ever. I have very few close friendships with men my age. Seminary is both a hard and weird place to build friends. Youth pastor network meetings are not filled with men who wear their need for friendship on their shirt sleeve (myself included) and this is only complicated by sporadic attendance by many of them. In my church, very few of my peers want to involve themselves with a teenager, they have their own jobs and kids to contend with- so I don't have many men my age I serve with.

2. I am a slow builder of deep friendships. They come over time, need to have a natural feel, and it's hard to feel safe with someone who will simply love you, faults and all. (especially as a pastor living in a 2500 person fish bowl we call the church) This is complicated by past wounds in ways I'm only partly aware of I'm sure.

3. I have some "peer friends" on our street, but no one I can open my life up to over a cup of coffee or a beer in my back yard. It's just casual friendships.

4. Over time, either myself or my friends move. Almost all of my deepest friendships, from college onward, even many of the ones I've tried to start here in the last 4 years, have in one way or another moved on. All of my really deep friendships are living not minutes, but hours or even days from here. Distance has complicated things that technology cannot solve.

5. I think I really need a mens and/or a couples small group. I've tried to start one a few times with a few couples in our church, but our schedules end up clashing and it becomes impractical. There are some existing small groups, but they are not easily broken into and it also requires someone who not only I feel safe with, but Shannon as well.

6. Financially, a couples small group costs me close to $20 a week in child care unless we can find a time and place where we can pool that resource. That adds up fast. I think I have to budget for this need.

7. I need to deal with this issue this year. I'm trying to put together a group of guys who, might even travel from across states to meet up. I think I still need some weekly stuff. This is not a "drama filled" process like some sorta hold over from teenage life, it's a soul level reality I need to wrestle with this year I think.

8. I wish I had a brother. No offense to my sister or my wife. I just hope my sons realize what a treasure they have in brothers. I pray they grow up to be tight friends. I hope they travel across states to hang out once year as adults- with or without me.

9. I have a lot of soul searching to do in this area. Some say leadership roles are lead by lonely people. I'm not buying that- I think it's a load of crap someone is using to cover up their own pain. I'm sure I'm a BIG part of the problem and it might take some tears to shake the truth out of hiding. Maybe this is part of my pruning. I hope they come from someone who loves me and not from the wounds of someone who is hurt or angry.

10. The hardest question to truly wrestle with in all of this: "Who considers me to be a deep and close friend?"

"Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family." Proverbs 18:24 (The message) Lord help me to live with and be that kind of friend.



My U12 soccer team is mostly middle school boys.  I guess you could say it's my boys small group.  I love to clown with them and challenge them to give me their best all at the same time.   Today I had a few conversations at practice I thought I'd share.

Before practice, while one early kid was there with me I had the following conversation:

Me: How was school?
Kid: Boring.
Me: Why was it boring?
Kid: We do english for like 2 hours and then math for like an hour and then science for like 3 minutes and science is my favorite subject.
Me: Has it been like this for long?
Kid: No, it just got worse lately.
Me: Well, maybe it will get better.
Kid: Probably not, I've been going to this school forever.
Me: What school is it?
Kid: Such and such Christian School.
Me: Is it at a church? 
Kid: Yes, it's at such and such baptist church, my dad is the pastor there.
Me: Oh, was your dad at our game on Saturday.
Kid: No, my dad is always gone.
Me: Oh, how often do you see your dad?
Kid: About one week a month.  He travels a lot preaching.
Me: Oh.... (note to self, don't tell this kid I'm a pastor)

Later, after we ran a lap.... this announcement from another kid.

Kid: I'm sorry if I'm a little down today.  School started today and I have to take my pill and I can't have any sugar either.
Me: Oh... (note to self, this kid is on downer drugs.  I'm slipping him a candy bar at practice so he can run)


Monday, August 25, 2008


We have had our share of family firsts: first born, first house, first job, first trip to Africa, yatta yatta.

As far as firsts go, last year was pretty unique. It was the first and only year with all 3 boys in the same all day school.

Well, today was yet another first. Today is Shannon and I's first official first day as parents of a Middle Schooler! Today T.J. started Middle School in the 6th grade. Tyler is in 3rd grade and Jake is now in 1st.

To commemorate the start of this new school year, I have deemed Monday (my day off) as "walk to school day." So, in honor of my edict, we all walked to school- even Zeus came. Afterwards Shannon and I went to starbucks, came home, ran a grip of errands, made some lunch, and headed back to pick up the boys, run some more errands, make dinner, and then do some more gardening. Quite the full day.

Here's a collage of the first day of the Berrytribe 08/09 school year. Man time flies.



Sunday I came home from a wedding and drove up to my house and said, "That's all I can stanz and I can't stanz no more, I'm pruning the ice plant." So instead of napping (which is what I really wanted to do), I braved the heat with my cutting shears and headed for the front yard.

An hour or so later, I ended up with what is below. It has become about a 3x a year ritual to keep the iceplant from overtaking my rocks.

All of that green stuff pictured on the right was covering about half of the rocks you now see on the left! Pruning is a necessary part of a healthy garden. It's also a necessary part of a healthy spiritual life. Which brings me to why I chose to snap this pic. As I was gardening, I felt like God said some bad news and some good news to me.

Bad news: while pruning is hard work and often painful, I think that's what God has in store for me in the coming months. We have some pruning to do.

Good news: pruning from God always leads to a harvest in the future.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1-2


Friday, August 22, 2008


I was getting caught up on some blogs after Africa and I ran across a reference to this video of a friend of mine. I'd like to say I have this kind of faith. I'd like to say I'm listening to God this attentively. I want my life to make these kind of decisions. But.... I wonder what I'd have said with 3 kids, a mortgage, and no clear alternative plan if I sat around this table.

I used to do youth ministry down the street from Jarrett Stevens when he looked around him as a youth pastor and saw a church he didn't fit in. So he quit his job and moved to Chicago to go to Moody. That decision eventually lead him to serve at Willow Creek Community Church. That eventually led him to get hired to run their college ministry. He then left Willow Creek to go serve under Andy Stanley at their new Buckhead campus. Now he's laying that on the line to follow Jesus again. Thanks for truly leading and constantly risking Jarrett. I'm proud of you.

I wonder if I'd have the confidence to trust Jesus and leave or risk leaving 2 of what many would consider to be "dream jobs" to follow Jesus. I'd like to say yes, but staying on the razor's edge of faith is easier said than done.

I've been kicking around a quote I heard at the leadership summit this year, one that is said by the same pastor quoted in this pivotal video in the life of 7/22 above. It is this: "I realized that I had become a full time pastor and a part time follower of Jesus." I fear at times that this has been me. I don't want this to be one of those times. I don't want to do what everyone else is doing so I can become what God has not called me to be. I want to do what only God has called me to do with a gutsy faith that is willing to risk it all for the Kingdom of God.

I only pray God gives me what it takes to actually jump when he calls.



Yesterday at 3:15pm I left the office to drive to soccer practice. Or so I thought.

I actually left the office to discover that the last time I left my car while talking on my cell phone, I locked the keys in the ignition. I thought about getting a ride from a friend, but no one was in their office. I then called my wife to have her come get me, but we have lost the other set of cruiser keys in the mayhem of the last 2 months. So my key had to be retrieved either way.

I didn't have time to call AAA and wait for them- even though I pay for this service. So I was stuck. Then I looked up and saw that in our church parking lot was a tow truck. I called the guy and asked if he was around. He said yes and he'd be there in 5 minutes.

Then he arrived. He told me it was $35. It took him 3 minutes.

I searched everywhere for the extra key last night, but I can't find it. Then today I went to get a new key so if I get locked out again, I can use another key to get in. However the dumb key has some kinda computer chip in it and has to be programed so it will work. So I went to the chrysler dealer across the street from our church and $60 later I had a key. $60!!!!

Suck. Easy come. Easy go.... and in my case- it evidently goes out easier than it comes in.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Monday night my family went to Seaworld. We have season passes so we ate some dinner before and then cruised down. We saw the Cirque de Sole water show, Pets Rule, the night Dolphin show, the Shamu show, and the Riptide dance show. A very full and beautiful night for just 3 hours.

But having watched the Olympics all week, it became clear that some of the craziness you see performed on the world stage is performed just down the street virtually every summer night around here. I'm amazed at the crazy acrobatics of both the people and the things that you can teach a 5000 lb whale to do. Crazy I tell you. It's crazy.



My wife gets the soccer mom of the year award. I know... the season has hardly begun but I swear Betty Crocker and even June Cleaver would be jealous.

I've come home from 3 practices so far and every time I come home, put away the soccer gear, wash my hands, and sit down at the dinner table to like a meal. It's crazy. She takes Jake to soccer and then comes home and puts on her cape. I swear, I'm building a white picket fence and planting a garden next week.

You go super soccer mom.



I went to a friends to drop off my kids for a sleep over. They were watching the olympics on the HD channel on their big ol flat screen when I walked in. I was floored at how bright and sweet it looked. My TV has never looked so sucky.

I've been watching these olympics rather addictively, but I'm telling you.... the HD flat screen look is the way to see it. Maybe I'll watch them that way in the winter of 2010. Maybe.


Friday, August 15, 2008


Well I officially started my fall ritual of coaching both of my older boys soccer teams.  TJ is in under 12 (the Scorepions) and Tyler is in under 10 (the Storm).  Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and November 2 you'll find me teaching soccer to 24 boys from 4:15pm to 7:15pm.  It also sucks up virtually every Saturday between now and Thanksgiving too.   

Tyler has said, "thanks Dad for coaching my soccer team" something like 20 times in the last 3 days.  Maybe even 25 times.  That makes all the sacrifice worth it.  

I'm praying that God uses me to bless my kids and represent Jesus well in our community.  

One final note: I was told by the U12 rep that I received more requests for kids wanting to be on my team than anyone else.  That fired me up.  Not due to some lame popularity game, but because I thought that meant that the last 3 years of coaching has produced a positive reputation for the Kingdom of God.  This year I have one returning student on my team whose family now attends our church as a result.  Neither of my assistant coaches this year are passionately following Jesus either- so this could be an amazing chance to share God's grace with some people.

Pray it up.  


Thursday, August 14, 2008


I came back from Africa all screwed up in my sleep patterns.

Then I went full bore into the events of my job.

Then the olympics started... and I have not been to bed before 12:30am since.

No wonder I still feel like I have jetlag. I keep telling myself the olympics are only 2 weeks long and only come once every 4 years, but my body is starting to slap me for this thinking.

I love the Olympics. My pillow does not.



About 2 years ago or so I talked to some friends of mine about the need for a book to graduating seniors. I expressed how I was tired of the options for students being some coffee table devotional book written by a Christian bookstore devotional superhero like Chuck Swindol, James Dobson, or Max Lucado. Nice enough guys, but I was confident the books were really being marketed to grandma's in Arkansas who buy books for their graduating grandkids who never actually read them.

I had some ideas for a solution to this problem, but I had no idea how to get a book published. Some friends in the publishing world even told me that it was not a book that people buy because, like it or not, grandma is the audience they market to. So, I delayed. Then eventually I talked to some friends on the outskirts of the publishing world about the need and then they said, "Brian, write it." They didn't say they'd publish it, but they did say I should write it.

Well, my crazy life or my lack of self-discipline or whatever has kept me from authoring a book and I started writing bible studies instead. Then I had lunch with a friend of mine- Chuck Bomar- this summer and said I was trying to turn the corner and finally write this book. But he told me he had the same idea and his book was already written and is almost published. So today I noticed that Chuck's book was published by Simply called "99 thoughts for college age people."

And a few months ago I noticed that Mark Matlock wrote one called, "Freshmen: the college students guide to developing wisdom."

I could still throw my own ideas into the hat, but I think I'll probably just sit on it. Truth is: I think I snoozed and I loozed. But I'll pick them both up and give them a read and if I think I can offer anything new to the scene, I might have to get my butt in gear. If not, oh well.


Monday, August 11, 2008


Shannon and I went away for our 14th year anniversary last June. As a result we asked some questions to evaluate our marriage. We asked:

  • how are you?
  • how are we?
  • how is our family?
I wrote about them in an article for Simply Youth Ministry that published while I was in Uganda.... you can check it out here.



I went to dinner at a friends house and found out that my iphone was not being maximized. I thought all apps for the iphone required the internet, and I just figured they'd slow down my world. It's like dashboard for the mac.... something I never use. I already don't use it for mail because I can type so much faster on my laptop and don't really see the point.

But I decided to give a try. So after surfing itunes for an hour or so today, I took the plunge into another layer of my iphone.

I bought one program:

  • the bible which is now fully contained on my iphone in several searchable versions. I used to have that on my palm, but now have it on my iphone for the first time. I'm excited about using it in hospitals and even in church.
  • I wanted to buy another one that was a dictionary, but the reviews were bad, so I'll wait for them to improve it and then buy it.

I also scored several free apps...
  • some games- solitaire, a maze thing, a random drawing thing, yatta yatta.
  • a "flashlight" that makes the screen go bright and light for those times I can't find my keys in the door lock in my dark office hallway. It even can strobe for those cool concert moments.
  • a converter that turns virtually any measurement into something I understand (which would have been very hand in Uganda)
  • a tip calculator- which is nice when I'm feeling dumb.
  • a movie locator that automatically changes locations when you do.
  • and a very cool app called "remote" which controls my itunes from my cell phone- something I'll use every weekend in youth group- I'm really stoked about that one.
Now if I can just get my phone to wash my car.


Saturday, August 09, 2008


I was going through some pictures today and ran across this one my dad shot. It's the best example of the "there's no limit to what one can carry on a bike" thing I mentioned in a previous post. This guy is the man. Enjoy.

I only wish I had a pic of that guy with a HUGE pig strapped on a board while it peed a river on the back of his moped. That would have been pure gold.



I got back from Africa on Tuesday of this week. Wednesday I slept, went through the mail, and unpacked. Thursday and Friday was the leadership summit all day. Today, I can't shake the feeling of just utter laziness. I have so much to do but am struggling to stay awake. This jet lag thing is killing me.

Oh... and if you think it's hotter at the equator than in San Diego.... um... that's a lie. It's way hotter here than anywhere I went in Uganda. The hottest I experienced was the day with the Rhinos and it was still much cooler than what I have come home to, which is not helping my energy level much I fear.

This is my family actually on the equator- which runs through 10 countries in the world- 6 of them on the African Continent... and it was not as hot here as it is in San Diego.

This Tuesday I start my annual fall ritual of coaching two soccer- teams twice a week. I better get some energy soon.


Friday, August 08, 2008


For years now I've been going to the leadership summit put on by Willow Creek. I think this is like year 8 for me. I always love it. It's always good for me to hear and think. This year I have a few process days laid aside to download the info into my life, leadership, and ministry.

Last year's theme seemed to be for me, "self leadership." This year's theme seemed to be "leadership that matters".

There were 11 teaching moments from 10 speakers. (Hybels always does the opening and closing talks). I have tried to reduce each teaching down to two things.

#1. A leadership learning.
#2. A defining question to ponder.


LEARNING: Good leaders take the time to boil leadership experiences and learnings down to simple, easy to remember axioms that shape their decision making process.

QUESTION: What leadership lessons have I learned that I cannot afford to forget in regards to future decisions?


LEARNING: It is possible to lead in areas that ultimately do not matter at all. If I don't want this to be me, then I must make sure my heart and God's heart share the very same passions. God wants to solve the problems of the world through God's people for Jesus did not come to make us safe, but brave.

QUESTION: Are Jesus and I really interested in the same thing?


LEARNING: The greatest failure of leaders is not a failure to lead others, it’s a failure to lead themselves.

QUESTION: “What am I doing to truly make a difference in the world?”


LEARNING: True leadership comes from a deep seated values that are mutually owned across the organization.

QUESTION: Are the values of this organization mine or ours?


LEARNING: People are looking for an authentic confessing community.

QUESTION: Am I living an authentic, genuine, humble lifestyle of following Jesus around a watching world?


LEARNING: Culture is both good and bad; divine and demonic. It is the languate we have grown up in and we need to be able to connect with it so that people can find God in it.

QUESTION: How well do I know understand the theological and sociological needs of my culture?


LEARNING: Don’t become a full-time pastor and a part-time follower of Christ.

QUESTION: How intimate is my relationship with Jesus and does my ministry flow from the Holy Spirit's direct guidance and counsel in my life?


LEARNING: Culture is nothing but religion incarnate.

QUESTION: What systemic problems in American youth culture is God calling our student ministry to have a direct voice into and influence over?


LEARNING: Pray this: "Bring it on God, Bring it on."

QUESTION: "If God answers that prayer, am I ready to listen and obey no matter what the cost?"


LEARNING: We tend to separate things that are not separable. People problems result in end result problems.

QUESTION: "What have I tried to treat as separate problems that are actually intimately related to one another?"


LEARNING: Decide to live like Mother Theresa, that when God speaks, I will deny him nothing.

QUESTION: If God is just looking for a yielded heart that will refuse God nothing and do God’s bidding without delay, am I that kind of person?



I've been a youth pastor for 14 years now. This was my longest single stint out of the office in my career. It amounted to like 3 1/2 weeks in Africa. More like 5 1/2 out of the office if you count summer camp and the week before since I was only in the office for like 2 days. Much of that time was "on the job", but regardless, upon returning to the U.S. on Tuesday night, I have had some observations.

  • When the U.S. passport agent said to me, "welcome home," I teared up. After 6 trips to international airports, someone telling you they were glad to have you in their country evidently rang some unspoken need deep inside.
  • Don’t bitch about what you don’t have; doing so does not promote peace, but only reinforces your discontent.
  • HEY AMERICA: the internet is lightning fast, your roads are amazing, your gas is cheap, your closet is overflowing, your food is plentiful, your wallet is fat, your electricity is amazing, and your water is a luxury the rest of the world longs for... just to name a few right off the top of my head.
  • I waste too much time, resources, and money on that which does not matter.
  • Money or distance is not the solution to your problems. It is also not the solution to Africa's.
  • There is no limit to what one can carry on a bike, small moped, or on your head. Here's a short list of what I saw carried on at least one of those items: 3 wood couch frames, glass panes, 400 pounds of water, massive amounts of fruits and vegetables, an entire convenient store, large bundles of firewood, 3 other people, live chickens, and a HUGE live pig tied to the back of a moped (it also was peeing as we passed by. Thankfully on the other side of us)
  • Observation: Americans might be fat because we eat too much processed food and don’t have to walk far enough to get our day done. Just a thought.
  • If you want to know what first century Jerusalem was like, just go to the villages around Lake Victoria and watch people mend their nets, farm their food, ask questions about Jesus, and bring you their sick to be prayed over.



You come home to your 30 days out of the office to find it looking like this:

Kamiah will soon find her world wrapped in saran wrap I believe. I once wrapped my college age secretary in saran wrap to her office chair, wheeled her outside, wrapped her to a tree, and hosed her down with water for a similar infraction.

My office is shiny now, maybe I'll let her off a little easier. Maybe.


Sunday, August 03, 2008


Well, there are several other things we did here in Uganda that are worth telling you about, but they'll have to wait until we head home. I leave for a London single night layover and then home in about 5 hours. I'll blog again next week after we get home.

Pray us through. So far, so good.



Long post... but if you want the full update with pics.... here you go:

If you would have told me 5 years ago that my family would spend the summer of 2008 in Uganda serving with a team of students and then relaxing with much of my immediate family, I would have told you that you were crazy. But I also would have been wrong. What an amazing experience this has been. I hope we get to repeat it someday. If so, then I hope it's like the experience I had of the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve near Murchison Falls in North East Uganda this week.

Last Monday at 5am we left in a couple of 4 wheel drive minivan looking things with removable roofs to go on what was an all day drive with our team of 13 family members and 5 other teenage girls from around the world who joined us. The roads went from good to horrible and everything in between and with all of us and our stuff, it made for a significant part of the memory and a very long day.

We were headed for 3 days of fun at the Paraa Resort. I had an idea in my head of what a safari vehicle should look like. Yeah, I was wrong- a glorified toyota minivan was not what I expected. There were those classic safari extended land cruisers, but we did not experience those, but we never got stuck and they went places I never would have expected them to be able to go.

I also had in my head what a safari luxury hotel would look like... and I was right. This place was amazing and we experienced it in all it's glory!!!! Beautiful rooms with bathrooms that had hot water and constant electricity (what a change from our guest house that was) and a giant wood hotel with gorgeous views of the Nile, a luxury pool with swim up bar, amazing food, and fresh coffee. Oh, the joys of a little escape. I asked Pastor Timothy if he'd ever been there yesterday on the phone and he said, "no". I think I'm going to have to figure out how to take he and his wife there someday- they so need to see this part of their country. I wonder what part of mine I'm missing out on. Here's a small collage of the Paraa resort:

Here's how the days broke down. I have too many pictures, but I'll post a few here to give you a taste.

DAY 1 on the way up, we stopped at the rhino reserve. We drove off road for like 15 minutes until we picked up an armed guard/guide. Then we drove through the truck high grass and through the bush until we stopped and hiked about 2 miles to the place where the rhinos were hanging out. There are 6 of them there. We saw 5 of them all in one place under a tree. They are watched day and night by armed guards who stay at a distance to keep them safe from poachers. That part was a little unexpected and felt a little "zooish".

Then we drove through the Budongo rain forest and arrived at the Lodge. It is a beautiful dirt road drive of about 60 miles through rain forest and savanna all the way until you cross the nile by a barge.

That night it poured rain and thunder and lightening. Then the next morning was TJ's 11th birthday. What a way to spend DAY 2 in an African Safari!!!!

Anyway, it stopped raining at the lodge and we headed out across the Nile and back into the rain forest to see the chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest. However, almost as soon as we arrived, it started to rain- guess that's why it's called the rain forest. So 5 adults- myself, brad, mom, dad, and the band of teenage girls all went traipsing through the rain in search of monkeys. (We found out upon arrival that you had to be 15 years old to see the monkeys). We hiked for about 3 kilometer (3 hours) and the rest of the group went on a rain forest tour that lasted about 2 hours. We eventually did see the monkeys, about 150 feet up in the top canopy of a tree eating fruit, but it was like watching ants they were so far away. Our kids saw bugs and bushes and a Mahogony tree that was 400 years old and probably something like 30 feet in circumference. It was HUGE!!! Since it was raining, I don't have many pics, but eventually I might have a funny youtube vide for you that gives you the feel of what we experienced.

Then, afterwards we drove to Murchison Falls, a section of the Nile river where it all pumps through a narrow rock gorge that is 20 feet wide and falls about 120 feet to the river bed below. It is a massive exchange of water that causes it to literally rain there. Like something you'd experience at Yosemite, times 35.

We then went for a safari drive that evening in the Savanna's around the Lodge. Here's some of what we saw...

DAY 3 was supposed to be a boat ride and a drive home, but we decided to pay for an extra night. So instead it turned into a boat ride and then a second trip to the Savanna for our family.

The icing on the cake was the fact that the only thing they had available for an extra nights stay were some suites. I know... bummer. This meant that we moved from dual twin beds to king size beds and bathrooms with tubs. For Shannon and I and our boys, it meant that we "had to stay" in the "Queen's Cottage" which was originally built for the mother of the Queen of England when she came to visit. It is off by itself about 500 yards down the road with it's own gated yard, huge porch, and an unobstructed private view of the Nile with Hippos down below. I made sure to get up early and have some tea and watch the sunrise. It was so worth it. If you want an amazing get away experience, spring for the Queen's Cottage and feel like royalty for a day. Thanks Mom and Dad... we sure did. Here's the lodge and some shots we took on or off it's porch.



I just got the latest e-mail from sitemeter and my blog is back to normal in the third week.... 350-400 before the trip. 800-900 visits during our missions portion of our Uganda trip. Now I'm back to the 350-400. I'm sure there's a message in there somewhere.

I however am not back to normal. In fact, if the truth were told, I'm hoping to not go back to normal. I'd really like to change every day and some stages in life are more intense for change than others. I'm trying to let the last 3 weeks of my life be one of those.

I'm really hoping to give a serious run at a new normal in my life, marriage, family, and ministry- regardless of blog hits :) I should be home in another 3 days. We leave for London tomorrow morning... Sunday night in California or Monday morning here in Entebbe.


Saturday, August 02, 2008


Well, after we sent our team to Entebbe for their plane route home, my family and I spent the morning packing. We were going to spend the morning shopping and eating breakfast downtown, but there was a riot due to some theft at the fair around the corner from our guest house and Mandy called to tell us not to leave until it calmed down.

I resisted posting that fact until my team was safely home :)

Anyway, we headed to a resort at the source of the Nile called the King Fisher Safari Resort in Jinja. We met up with my parents and sister and her family to spend 3 days and 3 nights there. Quite the change from the guest house. We had a beautiful shower, a 2 room hut where the boys each had their own twin bed and shannon and I had a king bed!!! The accommodations and the grounds were gorgeous. One morning I got up early to watch the sunrise. It was well worth the early rise. Here are some pics... our hut, the sunrise, and the cousins in the pool.

DAY 1 was a site seeing boat ride on the Nile near the source. I went on this same ride with our team but it was raining and our engine was cutting in and out so we didn't see much really. But this time, I took tons of pictures. Here are 3 shots- all of King Fishers. There are 3 varieties on Lake Victoria, I managed to snag a pretty good pick of each one.




Here's 2 bonus pics- both taken on the path on the way to the boat... one of a chameleon and one of the most beautiful clan of lady bug looking insects I've ever seen.

DAY 2 was a boat ride to my new friend Timothy's house and to give soap to some people in his church with AIDS. It rained so hard on our way home that we had to seek shelter under some random hut on the shore. It made for quite the story. Here's my final pic with him. He called me today to tell me goodbye too. Such a Godly and wonderful man. I'm so looking forward to continuing our friendship in the years to come.

DAY 3 was white water rafting on the Nile. I bought a professional DVD of our day, but no pics because I had no way to keep my camera safe or water proof. But our family went on a float trip and my brother in law and I went on the full day class 5 white water rafting experience. It was crazy. Our boat flipped twice and I have never been white water rafting on this level. It was nuts. You can check out the company we went with here. Perhaps I'll find a way to post part of the dvd on youtube for you.

The next day we left for a Safari... that'll be my next post.



Well, clearly people enjoyed the updates from our missions trip to Uganda. My blog readership tripled from 300 hits a week to 900 hits during the first week of our trip and 800 during the second week. Clearly, wanting pictures and information on our trip was a very high priority for friends and family. I hope you were all blessed, those of you who are still reading :)

The next few posts will be pictures of the trip with my family. In the coming weeks, I'll compile some shots and post them in themes to keep the memory of the trip alive and fresh as I assimilate the learnings of the past month in the day to day life of my future.



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San Diego, CA
Husband. Dad. Jesus Follower. Friend. Learner. Athlete. Soccer coach. Reader. Builder. Dreamer. Pastor. Communicator. Knucklehead.

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